Body and Soul: An American Bridge


Film + Jazz Brunch
Philadelphia Premiere
: Thursday, November 9
Time: Film | 11:00 AM
Brunch | 12:30 PM
: The Gershman Y

Director: Robert Philipson
Genre: Documentary Feature
Country: USA
Year: 2016
Running Time: 58 min
Language: English

Sponsored by: Barbara and Mickey Black; the Djerassi Foundation in loving memory of Izi; Amy and Richard Oller

Buy tickets HERE

Penn Annenberg Professor Josh Kun asserts in the award-winning documentary BODY AND SOUL: AN AMERICAN BRIDGE that “every musical encounter is a cross-cultural encounter.” If these words ring true, then the song “Body and Soul” may well be the definitive musical bridge linking African American and American Jewish music together in perpetuity.

One of the most celebrated jazz standards of the early twentieth century, “Body and Soul” was written by the Jewish composer Johnny Green in 1929. While introduced to the Broadway stage by way of a Jewish torch singer named Libby Holman, it was not until Louis Armstrong sang it in his signature playful style that the song was truly ushered into the jazz canon. With later renditions performed by the color barrier-breaking Benny Goodman Trio, the song came to illustrate the complex musical interplay between American Jewish and African American cultures.

In tying together the loose strings which helped to establish the song’s enduring cultural resonance, filmmaker Robert Philipson reveals a rich confluence of musical ingenuity and collaboration between the great Black and Jewish musicians of yesteryear.  Winner of Best Music Documentary at the San Francisco Black Film Festival, BODY AND SOUL: AN AMERICAN BRIDGE is a testament to the timeless power of music to bring people together.

This film will be followed by a live jazz performance and soul food brunch.

Special Guests: Robert Philipson, Director of Body and Soul: An American Bridge; The Mark Forchic Trio.


For Fans of: African American history, jazz, jazz history, Jewish American history, memoirs, music documentaries

Official Selection: American Documentary Film Festival, Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, Baltimore International Black Film Festival, Oakland International Film Festival, Pan African Film Festival, San Diego Jewish Film Festival, San Francisco Black Film Festival, and Washington Jewish Film Festival

Awards: Best Music Documentary at San Francisco Black Film Festival

Reviews: “The film is lively and will likely connect you to some aspect of jazz music, even if you’ve never been a fan.” (Terry Segal, Atlanta Jewish Times)

Screening with Body and Soul: An American Bridge

Directed by Francine Zuckerman | Narrative Short | Canada | 2016 | 12 min | English

Philadelphia Premiere
A girl sets off to find Leonard Bernstein, the famed music conductor whose performance at a displaced persons camp after the war changed her father’s life forever.

Official Selection: Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, New York Jewish Film Festival, San Diego Jewish Film Festival, San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, Toronto International Short Film Festival, and Toronto Jewish Film Festival

Awards: Best Drama at Toronto International Short Film Festival

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